Los Angeles is filled with the world’s most fascinating jobs. It is the mecca of the entertainment industry where you can find yourself at a bar having a drink next to some really interesting people. From models to aspiring actors, musicians, agents, chauffeurs, personal assistants, all provide the backdrop to amazing stories. There is one person that truly has the most interesting job. Meet Louie Bookout.
Starting Small but Dreaming Big
Most people first met Louie Bookout on Bravo’s Million Dollar Listings when he delivered a Mercedes to the house of celebrity Real Estate Broker Chad Rogers. What most viewers didn’t know is that Louie Bookout has been providing elite Los Angeleans hard-to-find luxury cars for years.
Bookout began his company, Celebrity Business Services, 17 years ago. Celebrity Business Services is a thriving private car dealer in a world where the words car dealer and thriving are almost never used in the same sentence. It has been nearly 30 years since Bookout came to Los Angeles to make some quick money in order to get another business started. He left the business for a short time, only to return when he realized he loved working in the car industry. Bookout began his auto sales career working at a Mercedes dealership. He started as a sales representative, moved on to sales manager, then was in line for a general manager. He dreamed of owning his own dealership someday.
One of the buyers at Bookout’s dealership was an auto broker, meaning he was a middle man between the dealership and car buyers. Many of the broker’s clients were in the entertainment industry. Bookout noticed this man did not always seem happy, and was many times very grumpy. Even while grumpy, he still managed to sell 20 cars per month. “He was selling 20 cars a month, I figured that if I was doing the same thing, with a better attitude, I could sell 40 cars a month.” Today, in the midst of a tough economy, Bookout is doing just that. He estimates he sells approximately 40 to 50 cars per month. The cars he provides range from Mercedes, BMWs, and Bentleys, toRolls-Royce and Range Rovers. His clients are generally in the entertainment industry, from actors and actresses to agents, business managers, and accountants to the stars. It is safe to assume that Bookout’s rolodex is a who’s who of Hollywood’s Power Players.
Servicing Hollywood’s A-List
With that kind of client list, one would expect not to have many headaches over business. And there aren’t. “Many of my clients have business managers or accountants that handle where the money is going. The biggest hurdles are when I get a referral from one of my clients and the new client isn’t as established and they don’t have handlers yet. They still handle all of there own financial responsibilities. Many times those people don’t use me the way they need to.” Bookout looks out for his clients’ best interests. He will give them advice to help figure out what is the best deal for them. He also looks out for his relationships and his client list is very private. He guards that list like a lion and won’t dish any celebrity dirt. The only way to know if a person is a client of Bookout’s is if the car has his customized logo of a B with wings attached on the license plate holder. In one way he has built a brand, but also an elite club that few have access to.
No Advertising Necessary
From his first client to today, Louie still has never done any advertising or marketing. You won’t find a web site containing information about Celebrity Buying Services. You won’t even find his office hours posted anywhere because he doesn’t have specific times that he works. Everything is word of mouth. He estimates that his retention rate is approximately 85%. It is the “Louie process” that sells. Clients simply call and request the type of car that they want. They may tell him certain options they prefer, whether or not they exist. From there Bookout handles everything. He finds the car whether it is in Los Angeles, or Cleveland, and coaches his clients on cost and financing options. He handles all of the paperwork, and in the end, delivers the car to their home or office. All of this service at no additional cost to his customer. For that he relies on his relationships with the dealerships.
There are only a handful of private car dealers such as Louie’s Bookout’s Celebrity Buying Services and Bookout is the only one who sells nationwide. While he calls Los Angeles home, he has clients in New York, Miami, Tennessee, and is even making a name for himself with elite casino executives in Las Vegas.
Bookout feels blessed with the success that Celebrity Buying Services has had and has maintained over a 17 year period. He knows he is fortunate that he doesn’t have to wake up and go to a dealership every morning. “The world is my dealership” is what Bookout says. He can research and get information over the internet. With technology today, all that is needed is a cell phone, fax machine, and the internet. The biggest reason for his success is because he has followed the path of doing what he loves. “Do what you love to do. If you took money out of the equation, what would you want to do for a living?” Bookout pondered that question and followed that path, learning he indeed could make a living out of doing what he loved.